So I found out a few days ago that Konami will be releasing a Marik Ishtar Structure Deck in October. You know, from the original series. The deck contains a lot of the newer Gravekeeper cards, along with some cards Marik used during the TV series, Temple of the Kings (a banned card) with Serket, and, as a finishing touch, a common Mirror Force.
WHY are they only doing this NOW?
Mirror Force has been common in Japan since the first Yugi Structure Deck, which was released when the first series was still going. Everywhere else, it has been one of the most coveted cards in the game since its initial release in Metal Raiders. It was shiny, powerful, and was one of Yugi's favorite traps in the show. Mirror Force was a good trap that was - and possibly still is - used in every deck.
This is another good trap, but too risque for a children's card game.
Semi-recently, they also released a Kaiba Duelist Pack, Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon card sleeves, and a Yugi Duelist Pack with unreleased Japanese alternate arts. They have also released a ton of support for older themes, such as Gravekeepers and Amazonesses. These would have been great ideas from Day 1, when Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon was so coveted that people were paying money for just one rumored release. Now, BEUD's everywhere, and card releases are more or less synchronized with the show.
They did not do it then, so what is compelling them to do it now?
In a word: Nostalgia.
You probably know at least one person who bitches about art today. These people are like the old farts who say "Back in my day..." and get completely lost in the past, even if it was not necessarily better.
Huh? Marik? Is my hearing aid on?
Does it still sell? Oh yes. The kids who grew up watching the original Yu-Gi-Oh! - which wasn't that great, given the anime's numerous retcons and deviations from the original manga - will probably be all too willing to get into the game again as long as it features the characters they love. Furthermore, now that they actually know how to play the game and care about their cards, they will buy matching accessories from collectible dog tags to sleeves to binders, and common, effective cards like Mirror Force actually matter. Konami thinks that their primary target audience is starting to care now.
This is, of course, incorrect. YGO was one of those 'gateway' games. Due to its darker, more mature aesthetic, more adults and teens got into YGO than Pokemon or Digimon. Four companies handled YGO, meaning that many, many cards did not find their way over to the States (or the rest of the world; see the BEUD example for the effects). Since the rarest cards were often the most powerful, adult players weighed packs for foils, ripped off little kids, and did anything they could to get their mitts on cards like Mirror Force. YGO was handled extremely poorly, so many of us learned how to not manage a card game the hard way.
If you surfed the YGO-based message boards long enough, you would have learned that four companies were involved in its transfer over to the States: Konami, UDE, 4Kids, and Shueisha. Konami managed the YGO franchise; UDE printed the cards (and may have dabbled a bit more); 4Kids dubbed the anime, YGO's main source of funding; Shueisha published the manga in Japan, and later got a deal with Viz Media over here. Most people did not give a rat's ass; ignorance was bliss, and if you thought the dragons and magicians were cool, you were pretty much in the clear.
Yu-Gi-Oh! sells style. That is their main niche; they deal with the more mature, manga-loving demographic that dislikes the 'CoroCoro' look of Pokemon but still loves anime-style art. YGO is based off of a shounen manga series, which is above CoroCoro's designated age group. Half of the people buying YGO do not even care if the game is good; they just like the awesome dragons and/or bishounen from the TV series. The game is largely propelled by character value.
Oh, and LittleKuriboh, but MOSTLY character value.
The characters should have gotten awesome tie-ins while the original series was still running, but a number of company errors prevented the U.S. from getting the same good Structure Decks as Japan. I have had people tell me "OMG KONAMI IS GOOD NOW!" ever since the start of 5D's. Maybe, but it took them ten years...and that is WAY too long.
Support the new series if you must. Giving Konami your cash for a series that ended at least 5 years ago is like sailing a ship too late to save a drowning witch. That's why they're also releasing God Cards again.